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Yonkers Raceway's Tuesday afternoon (May 24) "French" trots feature the usual bigger fields and longer distances, but one more ingredient gets added into the mix... ...bigger pots. Beginning with Tuesday's last five races (7 through 11), commingling of the win and show pools between the North American and French-hubbed audiences takes place for all of Yonkers' overseas-exported events throughout the season. "We're extremely pleased and grateful for all the work that was put in to make this happen," Raceway COO Bob Galterio said. "We appreciate everyone's support and invite fans to play into what are now going to be significantly larger pools." After Tuesday, the next scheduled "French" program is June 21 (Yonkers has its live racing hiatus from June 1-12, inclusive). Frank Drucker

Yonkers Raceway's Saturday night $45,000 co-featured harness racing Open Handicaps were brought to us by the letter B. Ladies First, with Bee a Magician (Brian Sears, $3.50), who took a overnight rest stop and toyed with her six marquee trot rivals. From post No. 6 (in one notch after the inside number was scratched-sick), Bee a Magician paid a :27.4 price to secure the lead. One she paid that toll, the rest of the road was essentially a freebie (:57.4; 1:26.4; 1:54.1). Major Athens (Tyler Buter) pulled pocket early against the Queen, and all that did was cost him second. That went to Allerage Star (Dan Dube), with Major Athens, Luminosity (George Brennan) and Crazy About Pat (Jordan Stratton) grabbing the minor awards. Buen Camino (Jason Bartlett) was outrun in a mile that ended up being a track record for aged mares. For $3.8 million ma'am Bee a Magician, a 6-year-old daughter of Kadabra trained by Nifty Norman for co-owners Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee, it was his third win in as many seasonal starts (lifetime 44-for-68) The exacta paid $19.80, with the triple returning $64.50. Bee a Magician Then, there was Bit of a Legend N (Stratton, $3.50), who prevailed from an impossible locale in the weekly pacing feature. Last among the seven in a pokey race, he saw Great Vintage (Mark MacDonald) seemingly dawdle (:27, :56.2, 1:24.4) with Outrageous Art (Bartlett) engaging first-up. Great Vintage owned a length lead into the lane, then began to get steppy and tire. In the interim, Bit of a Legend N was winding up front last and rallying down the middle of the oval. Sixth turning for home, he was a going-away winner, defeating Outrageous Art by a length-and-a-quarter in 1:52.1. Take it Back Terry (Brennan), Great Vintage and Moonliteonthebeach (Brent Holland) earned the smaller portions. For Levy champ Bit of a Legend N, a 7-year-old Down Under son of Bettor's Delight owned by Harry von Knoblauch and trained by Peter Tritton, he's now 9-for-12 this season. The exacta paid $26.80, with the triple returning $84. Saturday's card also included a $40,000 elimination for the Art Rooney Pace for 3-year-olds. Missile J (Sears, $2.10, part of entry) won the game of musical chairs--nine to eliminate one--in 1:53.2. The American Ideal gelding defeated Rodeo Rock (Dube) by a length-and-three-quarters, with the winner's entrymate, Artmagic (Brennan) third. Joining those three in next week's $300,000 final of the 26th Rooney are Manny, Yankee Artillery, No Shame Blue Chip, Tailgunner Hanover and Tap into Power. Autotune Hanover, last season's winner of the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace here, was devoid of pace this night and finished ninth. Next Saturday's Rooney is accompanied by the $100,000 Lismore Pace, which attracted six 3-year-old fillies. Both open draws take place Tuesday morning. Frank Drucker

Sell a Bit N and harness racing driver Jordan Stratton was left without adult supervision Friday night, then made 'em, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. In play from assigned post position No. 5, Sell a Bit N was three-wide early before getting past pole-sitting Lookout Stokk Zone (Tyler Buter) and Know it All (Eric Abbatiello). The leader was able to put up pokey precincts of :28 and :57.1 as McCovey Cove N (George Brennan) tried it first-up from first. Al Raza N (Matt Kakaley), as the 13-10 favorite, was second-over, which did her no favors here. Sell a Bit N maintained her advantage in and out of a 1:25.4 three-quarters, taking a two-length lead into the lane. She then held off the closest pursuers, beating "Stokk Zone" by a neck in 1:53.3. Third went to Know it All (at nearly 64-1), with a crisp-late Mach it a Par (Brian Sears) and Al Raza N settling for the remainder. For second choice Sell a Bit N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Julius Caesar owned by Harry von Knoblauch and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her third win in 11 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $154.50, with the triple returning $650. Preakness Day Saturday finds the Raceway in full Pimlico simulcast mode, with selected mutuel windows opening at 10 AM in advance of a 10:30 AM first post. The 12-race, 1ive program begins at the usual 7:10 PM . Frank Drucker

Yonkers Raceway is hosting a game of Musical Chairs Saturday night (May 21st) , with nine harness racing entrants in one elimination for the Art Rooney Pace vying for eight places in next week’s final. The one-dash, $40,000 elim—comprised of a trio of 3-year-old colts and six geldings—goes as the fourth race, and drew out as such… PP-Horse (declared driver) 1-No Shame Blue Chip (Jason Bartlett), 2-Missile J (Tim Tetrick) 3-Artmagic (George Brennan) 4-Rodeo Rock (Dan Dube) 5-Tap into Power (Bartlett also listed) 6-Autotune Hanover (Tyler Buter) 7-Yankee Artillery (Brennan also listed) 8-Tailgunner Hanover (Ray Schnittker) 9-Manny (Brian Sears) Note that Missile J and Artmagic shall race as a common-ownership (Purple Haze Stables) entry. The first eight in the official order return for next Saturday’s (May 28th) $300,000 final of the 26th Art Rooney Pace. The companion event, the Lismore Pace, attracts six 3-year-old fillies, all of whom go directly to next Saturday’s $100,000 final. They are, alphabetically… Apple Bottom Jeans Cut and Paste Dime a Dance Kryptos Rock Me Baby Soft Idea Frank Drucker

The Empire's annual caravan made its seasonal downstate harness racing debut Monday night, with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $164,672 New York Sire Stakes Joe Goldstein Trot for 3-year-old fillies. Not there's every a bad time to break a maiden, but going for $40,768 qualifies as a good time to do so. Pylon-diving (from post position No. 2), rank outsider Young Bridge (Scott Young, $60.50) saved every inch of ground in the second statebred event, getting to the line a nose before Straight A Student (Mark MacDonald) in 1:58.3. Goosebump Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.) was a pocketed third as the 11-10 favorite. "I thought we had it won, but the stretch is long as I saw Mark (MacDonald, Straight A Student) coming on the far outside," Young said after his first local drive. "We always though this filly had some talent, but she was very hot as a 2-year-old. We've taken our time with her, and it seems to have paid off." Young Bride, a daughter of Lucky Chucky co-owned by Robert Young, Scott & Linda Worton and Premier & Associates Farm, she's now 1-for-4 this season and 1-for-8 in her brief career. The exacta paid $306.50, with the triple returning $915. George Brennan doubled his sire stakes fun, 'getting the bob' in the $40.768 opening event with pole-sitter Lindylicious ($10.80) in a life-best 1:58.4. Dizzy Broad (Morrill) was second as the 9-5 favorite, with Dazzling Dollars (Trond Smedshammer) third. For fourth choice Lindylicious, a Credit Winner miss co-owned by (trainer) Gilberto Garcia-Herrera and Donald & Barbara Arnstine, it was her second win in nine seasonal starts. The exacta paid $36.40, with the triple returning $118.50. Brennan was a pocketed winner in the $41,568 third NYSS grouping with Credit to Thelimit ($7.20), who picked off Canstopwontstop (Sears) by a length in 1:59.1. Zette Starlet (Smith) was a rallying third at 94-1, while 1-2 favorite Winning Princess (Morrill Jr.) jumped it off early. For second choice Credit to Thelimit, a daughter of Credit Winner trained by Sam Schillaci for co-owners Peter Barbato, Matthew Bencic, Peter Bova and Jodi Schillaci, it was her first win in four '16 tries, The exacta paid $28, with the triple returning $531. The evening's fastest was saved for the lastest, as last season's frosh divisional champ, Non Stick (Dan Dube, $2.70) handily won her soph debut. From post No. 5 in the $41,568 final NYSS event, the odds-on miss sailed through intervals of :29, :58.3; 1:27.3 and a life-best-matching 1:56.3. She defeated Swinging Royalty (Chris Lems) by a length-and-a-half, with Fad Finance (Smedshammer) third. For Non Stick, a Lucky Chucky lass co-owned by (trainer) Ake Svanstedt and Little E LLC, she ran her perfect resume to 7-for-7. The exacta paid $10.80, with the triple returning $34.20. Frank Drucker

Harness racing driver Mark MacDonald was the star of the show Saturday night, sweeping both of Yonkers Raceway's $40,000 co-featured Open Handicaps with favored Great Vintage (Pace, $5.30) and Obrigado (Trot, $8.20). Great Vintage, assigned post position No. 2, two-moved around Texican N (Jordan Stratton), then set sail on his appointed rounds (:27.4, 56.3, 1:24.2, season-matching 1:52). The people's choice eventually disposed of a first-up Bettor Rock On N (Dan Dube), then took a three-quarter length lead into the lane. He fended off an inside bid of Texican N by half-length in 1:52. Artistic Major (Brent Holland) rallied very well for third, with Ideal Cowboy (Jason Bartlett) and Atta Boy Dan (George Brennan) settling for the remainder. For Great Vintage, an 8-year-old son of American Ideal trained by Jimmy Takter for co-owners his wife, Christina, John Fielding, Goran Anderberg and Goran Falk, it was his third win in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $28.80, with the triple returning $220.50. As for Obrigado, he did his damage-from assigned post No. 5-from first-up. Away six, he saw Luminosity (Brennan) lead through intervals of :27.4, :57.2 and 1:26.1. It was Luminosity holding a short lead into the lane, but Obrigado was relentless. He keep at it, whipping Luminosity by a length in 1:54.2. Homicide Hunter (Stratton) was third, with tepid 5-2 choice Major Athens (Brian Sears) and Allerage Star (Pat Lachance) earning the minor moolah. For second choice Obrigado, an 6-year-old Boy Band gelding co-owned by (trainer) Paul Kelley, Linwood Higgins, SRF Stable and Stable 45, it was his first win in a pair of '16 tries. The exacta paid $33.60, the triple returned $179 and superfecta paid $579. Saturday's $30,000 Preferred Handicap Pace was won by Machtu N (Steve Smith, $7.70) in a night's-best 1:50.4 for a first North American victory. Frank Drucker  

Among those enjoying Yonkers Raceway's Saturday night soiree were some special harness racing guests. The Raceway and the Standardbred Owners Association of New York hosted approximately 100 metropolitan-area veterans for dinner and an up-close look at the harness racing drivers, trainers, trotters and pacers. Leading the post parade for first three races were vets representing three branches of the military--Army, Navy and Marine Corps. The same three races saw veterans groups in the winner's circle for an impromptu meet and greet. Trainer Robbie Siegelman once again acted as "point person." Siegelman has been a long-time, active volunteer with HorseAbility (www.horseability.org), an Old Westbury, NY-based non-profit organization offering therapeutic riding programs, hippotherapy and a summer day camp to children, adults, and families with special needs. "Everyone had a great time," Siegelman said. "We may have to do this more often." Frank Drucker

Pocketed Mach it a Par (Brian Sears, $7) edged past pace-setting Tessa Seelster (George Brennan) in mid-stretch Friday (the 13th) night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $40,000 harness racing filly and mare Open Handicap Pace. The field, pared to a half-dozen after outside assignee Krispy Apple came up injured, saw "Tessa"-last week's victress-once again do her damage on the lead. The 3-4 choice worked around pole-sitting Mach it a Par, then led through moist intervals of :28.1 and :57.1. Down the backside, Mosquito Blue Chip (Dan Dube) made a brief move from third, then ducked back in, leaving those honors to Pasultimatedelite N (Jordan Stratton). That one challenged "Tessa" in and out of a 1:25 three-quarters, with the leader owning a length-and-a-half advantage into the lane. However, Mach it a Par was sizing her up and picking her off, slipping out and winning by that same length-and-a-half in a season's-best 1:52.2. Mosquito Blue Chip was third, with Pasultimatedelite N and Know it All (Eric Abbatiello) earning the final two envelopes. Regil Elektra (Tyler Buter) brought up the rear. When the dust settled, the six lasses finished in post position order. For second choice Mach it a Par, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P & The Ganfolfo Stables and trained by Rich Banca, it was her second win in 13 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $11.40, with the triple returning $29.60. Friday evening's $30,000 Filly and Mare Preferred Handicap Pace was won by favored Rock N Roll Xample (Sears, $4.40) in 1:53.4. Frank Drucker  

Yonkers Raceway and the Standardbred Owners Association of New York are again playing grateful hosts to some very special harness racing guests. Saturday night (May 14), the Raceway and its horsemen's association shall welcome approximately 100 veterans to enjoy dinner and a night at the races. It's the second such endeavor for the heroes, all of whom are from the greater New York area. Trainer Robbie Siegelman is once again acting as "point person." Siegelman has been a long-time, active volunteer with HorseAbility (www.horseability.org), an Old Westbury, NY-based non-profit organization offering therapeutic riding programs, hippotherapy and a summer day camp to children, adults, and families with special needs. Many of the veterans have become involved with the HorseAbility program, including those chosen to lead Saturday night's first three post parades (one vet each from Army, Navy and Marines). "We're always happy to welcome our veterans," Raceway COO Bob Galterio said. "It's a thrill for us, and we're doing what we can to make it a special night for them." "Everyone from our group is going out of our way to make sure these veterans have a terrific experience," SOA of NY president Joe Faraldo said. Post time for the 12-race card is the usual 7:10 PM. A friendly reminder regarding Yonkers Raceway’s scheduled mid-season intermission. After the matinee program of Tuesday, May 31 (post time 1 PM), the Raceway’s next play date is Monday, June 13 (post time 7:10 PM). At that time, the five-program per week (Mon/Thu/Fri/Sat @ 7:10, Tue @ 1 PM) returns. Afternoon simulcasting—highlighted by the June 11th Belmont Stakes—continues to be offered during the break (save for Tuesdays), with evening simulcasting suspended during the hiatus. As always, a complete schedule is available at www.empirecitycasino.com. Frank Drucker

If Sherman and Mr. Peabody dialed up the WABAC Machine to the summer of 1993, they would have found Giant Force winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing International Trot. As a 4-year-old back then, Giant Force, driven by John Patterson Jr., traversed the mile-and-a-quarter distance in 2:27. That local aged group standard lasted for nearly 23 years....until Tuesday afternoon. Crescent Fashion (co-owner/trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt) turned what appeared to be a mismatch on paper into an unfair fight on the track. As the 2-5 favorite, Crescent Fashion ($2.90) won the day's first "French" trot by 4¾ lengths in 2:25.4. The stakes-winning son of Muscle Hill, who earned more than $300,000 as a sophomore, made his seasonal debut in this non-winners of six parimutuels (or $60,000) lifetime event and made his rivals pay. The new track record was one of the few gauntlets not thrown down by Jason Bartlett, who, from 11 drives, won half of the day's dozen races. Frank Drucker

Yonkers Raceway is announcing an across-the-the-board purse increases and some condition changes, beginning with next week's harness racing sheet. The hike raises the overnight purse range from $8,500 (for non-winners of $5,000 last five starts and/or $12,500 claimers) to $45,000 (weekly Opens/Open Handicaps). The current structure is $8,000 to $40,000. As far as conditioned races, the new non-winner "limits" (all in five last five starts) are... --$5,000 (winners over $20,000 in 2016 not eligible) --$7,500 (w/o $37,500 n/e, optional $15,000 claimer) --$10,000 (w/o $50,000 n/e, optional $20,000 claimer) --$15,000 (w/o $75,000 n/e, optional $30,000 claimer) --$20,000 --$25,000 The race office may tweak these (or any) conditions as necessary. Again, the new scale takes effect next Monday (May 16). For more information, please contact the race office at (914) 457-2627. Frank Drucker

Harness racing Yonkers Raceway's Kentucky Derby party featured all the obligatory ingredients, including music, food and drink specials, the occasional wager or two and, of course, the spiffy hat contest. The celebrity judge for said contest was none other than Bethenny Frankel, who brought out the crowd for pictures, autographs, and--not coincidentally--autographed pictures. Ms. Frankel's visit would not have been complete, it says here, without a photo op with one of Yonkers' own, Jordan Stratton. The man who chauffeured Bit of a Legend N to his victory in the last month's final of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series made his way to the winner's circle again for this money shot. We're going with "Real Housewife of New York Greets Real Harness Driver of Yonkers." Frank Drucker

Pocketed Outrageous Art (Jason Bartlett, $29) and two-move Luminosity (George Brennan, $7.90) shared the Saturday Derby Night glory, winning Yonkers Raceway's co-featured harness racing $40,000 Open Handicaps. The week's marquee pace was a two-speed number, with 6-5 favorite Atta Boy Dan (Brennan) and Outrageous Art leaving from post position Nos. 5 and 4 (each in one after an inside scratch), respectively. The people's preference led through intervals of :28, :56.4 and 1:24.3, negating a second move from outside assignee Lucan Hanover (Brian Sears). Atta Boy Dan owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, with Outrageous Art ducking inside. The double-digit number picked off the favorite, winning by a half-length in a season's-best 1:52.1. Stolen Car (Tyler Buter), Jeneral Patton (Pat Lachance) and Texican N (Jordan Stratton) completed the cashers. For fifth choice Outrageous Art, a 9-year-old son of Art Major co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard and Ameer Najor, it was his sixth win in 13 career starts. The exacta paid $83, the triple returned $619 and the superfecta paid $1,923. The week's trotting feature saw Luminosity get thrown in play early and that tact served him well. From post No. 7, he wedged into a three-hole behind Somebody AS (Stratton) and Monroe County (Bartlett). The former put up early weigh stations of :27.2 of :56.3, while Luminosity was planning his next move. That one engaged the leader through a 1:25.2 three-quarters before wearing him down off the final turn. Luminosity then finished it off, defeating a second-up Major Athens (Sears)-the slight 2-1 choice-by 2¼ lengths in 1:54.1 Homicide Hunter (Mark MacDonald) was an uncovered third in his 4-year-old/local/half-mile track debut, while Monroe County and Newcastle (Buter) settled for the remainder. . For Luminosity, a 6-year-old Cash Hall gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke and Weaver Bruscemi, he's now 3-for-8 this season. The exacta paid $25.80, with the triple returning $132. Frank Drucker

Off-the-layoff Tessa Seelster (George Brennan, $12.40) finished what she started Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing $40,000 filly and mare Open Handicap Pace. In play early from her assigned post position No. 2, it was "Tessa" working around Mach it a Par (Brian Sears). She then completed her rounds (:27.4, :56.3, 1:24.2, 1:52.1) while beating her seven elders. Carolsideal (Dan Dube), as the 9-5 favorite, hung around first-up, though never getting to "Tessa," who owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. She held off a second-over Krispy Apple (Jason Bartlett) by a neck, with Mach it a Par, Caroslideal and Al Raza N (Mark MacDonald) settling for the remainder. For third choice Tessa Seelster, a 4-year-old daughter of Shadow Play co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Jonathan Newman, she's now 4-for-4 this season after her first purse start since late January. The exacta paid $82.50, the triple returned $337 and the superfecta paid $1,335. Friday evening's $30,000 Filly and Mare Preferred Handicap Pace was won by Know it All (Eric Abbatiello, $10) in 1:54. Derby Day Saturday finds the Raceway in full Churchill Downs simulcast mode, with selected mutuel windows opening at 10 AM in advance of a 10:30 AM first post. The track apron has music, food and drink specials and the obligatory hat contest (with special guest judge Bethenny Frankel and cash prizes). The regular live program begins at 7:10 PM. YONKERS’ SATURDAY PICK 5 FEATURES $3,700 CARRYOVER A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday’s (May 7) Derby Night Pick 5 wager begins with a carryover of $3,779.89. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing program. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Friday evening), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next program. Frank Drucker

If you're not going to Churchill Downs in Louisville for the Kentucky Derby, Empire City Casino is the place for New Yorkers to watch the "Run for the Roses." Real Housewives of New York megastar Bethenny Frankel, the daughter of the late and legendary Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, will host the casino's Kentucky Derby Viewing Party on Saturday, May 7, trackside at historic Yonkers Raceway. A bevy of trackside activities at the casino's historic Yonkers Raceway will be highlighted by the opportunity to meet and take a photograph in the winner's circle with the wildly-popular Frankel from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. The annual Kentucky Derby "Fancy Hat Contest," a free two-horse exacta box on the "Run for the Roses" to the first 1,000 Empire Club members, the Cooler than Julep made with Bethenny's Skinny Girl Sangria and Skinny Girl Vodka, live entertainment by DJ LAX, and of course the simulcast of the Kentucky Derby at 6:34 pm will turn Empire City into Churchill Downs East. Empire City's Kentucky Derby extravaganza is open to the public, and gets underway at 3:00 pm on the raceway apron. Frankel is among the most popular reality television personalities in America with 1.5 million twitter followers, has hosted the talk show Bethenny, and is the best-selling author of four self-help books, chef, entrepreneur, and founder of Skinnygirl Cocktails. Participants can register for the Fancy Hat Contest trackside from 3:00-4:30 pm, and the winner will be announced at 5:00 pm. The Grand Prize is $500 in cash; second place wins $250 cash, and third place receives $100 cash. A celebrity pick will be announced at 5:30pm and the winner receives $750 cash. While the traditional and classic Mint Julep is on the menu, the Cooler than Julep rules at Empire City. Its ingredients include: Skinny Sangria, Skinny Vodka, Raw sugar, Lime, and Mint. Simulcast locations include trackside, the Winner's Circle Bar in Empire Terrace on the 2nd Floor, the Simulcast Room on the 3rd Floor, the 4th floor Grandstand and Dan Rooney's Sports Bar. The first 1,000 Empire Club Members to visit the entertainment lounge beginning at 4:00 pm will receive a two-horse exacta box for the Kentucky Derby whiles supplies last. With Churchill Downs first post at 10:30 AM both Oaks and Derby Day, Yonkers shall open selected mutuel windows at 10 AM. Advance wagering for the entire Saturday Churchill card begins Friday, including the Oaks/Derby daily double and the Oaks/Woodford Reserve Turf/Derby Pick 3. Yonkers' first post both days is the usual 7:10 PM. Please note that Churchill has set minimum wagering amounts for their gimmicks both Friday and Saturday. Frank Drucker

The phrases 'Jason Bartlett' and '80-1' aren't usually uttered together, but those harness racing folks who successfully connected the dots were handsomely rewarded Monday evening. Yonkers Raceway's leading driver and Hearts Wild blew up the tote board (figuratively, since it didn't actually go anywhere), rallying from sixth entering the lane for a $163 upset in the $14,000, second-race pace. From post position No. 4, she defeated Mother of Art (George Brennan) by a nose, with 60-1 Lilmisstalksalot (Dan Dube) third. Hearts Wild, a 3-year-old daughter of Western Ideal co-owned by William & Barbara Ethier and trained by Scott Blackler, had make an early break in last week's local debut. Her second win in a dozen seasonal/career starts matched her previous life-best effort. She led a $514 exacta and $2,845 triple, enhanced when 1-5 favorite Soulmate Hanover (Scott Zeron) caved and wound up sixth. Frank Drucker

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